Theory and Decision

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 329–366 | Cite as

Performance of procrastinators: on the value of deadlines

  • Fabian HerwegEmail author
  • Daniel Müller


Earlier study has shown that procrastination can be explained by quasi-hyperbolic discounting. We present a model of effort choice over time that shifts the focus from completion of to performance on a single task. We find that being aware of the own self-control problems may reduce a person’s performance as well as his or her overall well-being, which is in contrast to the existing literature on procrastination. Extending this framework to a multi-task model, we show that interim deadlines help a quasi-hyperbolic discounter to structure his or her workload more efficiently, which in turn leads to better performance. Moreover, being restricted by deadlines increases a quasi-hyperbolic discounter’s well-being. Thus, we provide a theoretical underpinning for recent empirical evidence and numerous casual observations.


Effort choice Deadlines (Quasi-) Hyperbolic discounting Naiveté Present-biased preferences Sophistication 

JEL Classification

A12 D11 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BGSE, University of BonnBonnGermany

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